The St Helena Government (SHG) Health Directorate has been working with some of the Island's largest merchants, in a 'Partnership for Health', who will, over the coming months, be increasing the availability of a range of healthy drinks and snack options in their outlets and providing clear information for buyers.
The first period of the partnership is focused on Zero-Sugar drinks, increasing the supply, range and choice available, and providing clear information about these so that customers can easily see what the healthy options are. A separate press release on the benefits of Zero-Sugar drinks will issue shortly.
The early members of the partnership include some of the largest merchants that import drinks to the Island and several hospitality sector partners. Partners include: Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc � The Star and Half Tree Hollow Supermarket, Rose & Crown and Longwood Supermarket, the Victoria and Thorpe's grocery stores. The first hospitality sector partners are Donny's Bar and Ann's Place. The different partners are starting at different times to fit their stocking schedules, and people will see products and information in some outlets/venues from mid-July onward, and others start from the beginning of August.
Chief Executive Officer of Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc, Mandy Peters, said:
For Solomon's, the partnership is not a short-term initiative but is part of a longer-term shift in stocking, so that over the coming months the range of our stock will change to meet changing customer needs. Maintaining availability in stock lines will always be a logistical challenge, however we will strive to make more of the healthier products available for customers.
Tara Wortley from the Rose & Crown added:
We want to make it easier for people to make smarter and healthier choices. The first challenge will be keeping these products available on the shelves as we come to learn new demand patterns. We will do our best as the shift takes place and would encourage customers to speak with our sales teams about the variety of sugar-free drinks available and any other products they would like to see added to our stores.
The expanded range of Zero-Sugar drinks will differ in the different stores and venues, including current favourites and bringing in some new options. Those available in different stores will include cans and bottles of sparkling or fizzy soft drink options.
The bar and restaurant venues will have their soft drink options, as well as sugar-free mixers for alcoholic drinks, such as tonic water.
Diluting cordial or squash sugar-free options are also available including the sugar-free alternatives. The partnership is increasing the number and range of the sugar-free bottled flavoured waters as well as some sugar-free kid's lunch-box juice drinks options.
Not all products will be available in each store as each has different ranges, but the aim is that there will be an evolution in number and the range available over the months. The idea is that the supply and range will increase initially and then increase further and the range expand. To change the stocking pattern on whole product lines takes some time for the merchant ordering systems to plan for, and with the Zero-Sugar products the shorter shelf-lives require further planning. Sugar-free milkshake mix and hot chocolate and latte type options can be available in the future. Customers should ask their merchants if there are other sugar-free drink types they wish to see added to the stock range.
Look for the 'Saints Together' logo that will signpost people to the healthy zero-sugar drinks options in store, on the shelves and in fridges.
Source: St Helena Government